I'm looking at house plans with the intention of building in the near
future. I have been limiting my search to ranches under 1800 square feet
for budget reasons. I just looked at a builder's ranch that the real estate
agent said was 1560 square feet but when I calculated the square footage
from the floor plan based on dimensions to the outside edges of the exterior
walls (excluding garage), I came up with over 2300 square feet. Am I
measuring the square footage correctly, which means that the agent isn't
even close. I can't imagine another way to measure that could account for
such a large difference. Incidently, the price listed on the plan is much
too low for 2300+ square feet - more consistent with the 1560 square feet
the agent claimes. Any thoughts?
Still.... that is a difference of under 10% ... not 47%!
You could try analize which portion might have been left out, based
on the figure.Sorry I can't make further sense of this.
There are many diffrent kinds of square foot. They are all square and they
are all a foot.
Sometimes you include everything covered by a roof. Even outside the walls.
Sometimes you go to the outside of the walls.
Sometimes you go to the inside of the walls.
Sometimes you go to the center of some walls and the side of other walls.
I think I've heard of "livable" which doesn't count some part of perfectly
useful indoor space.
I think sometimes basements aren't included (particularly if "unfinished")
>> "John Richards"> wrote
>>> I'm looking at house plans with the intention of building in the near
>>> future. I have been limiting my search to ranches under 1800 square
>>> for budget reasons. I just looked at a builder's ranch that the real
>>> estate agent said was 1560 square feet but when I calculated the
>>> footage from the floor plan based on dimensions to the outside edges
>>> the exterior walls (excluding garage), I came up with over 2300 square
>>> feet. Am I measuring the square footage correctly, which means that
>>> agent isn't even close. I can't imagine another way to measure that
>>> could account for such a large difference. Incidently, the price
>>> on the plan is much too low for 2300+ square feet - more consistent
>>> the 1560 square feet the agent claimes. Any thoughts?
>> There are many different ways to calculate square footage and lots of
>> labels on the things that are calculated.
>> This is the way I would set it up for what you are speaking.
>> Living - 1560
>> Garage - 440
>> Porch - 300
>> Total - 2300 square feet
>> Usually, contractors base their square foot price on the living area
>> at about $100 per s.f.
>> So, for example, a 1560 s.f. home would cost about $156,000.00
>> BTW: It is not unusual for wall space to use 10-15% of the total square
Thanks for the reply.
I did not include the garage (as stated in my original post), porch or
basement (full but unfinished basement) in my measurement of the square
footage. I used the detailed dimensions between the exteriors of the
outside walls. These dimensions result in 2382 square feet. The area taken
up by exterior (2X6) and interior (2X4) walls is approximately 150 s.f.
which brings the total down to 2232 and even eliminating all closets,
laundry room and stairway ( about 230 s.f.) the total is still down to only
2000 s.f., still 440 s.f. more than the 1560 s.f. that the agent quoted and
much more area than would be expected for a price of $198,000 including the
lot (guessing the lot to be about $30,000).
Then I guess the question is how do you measure "living area".
Even excluding all exterior and interior walls, all closets and laundry room
and the stairway I still come up with 2000 s.f.!
I still don't know how this house could only be considered 1560 s.f.
You have received interesting replies to your question. Hopefully the
following will help.
1. In my experience as an architect in different states and cities,
with both custom and spec houses, I have found that there are different
ways to calculate floor area. In our current practice, based in San
Antonio and Austin, Texas....the standard calculation is to count to
the exterior face of the outside wall sheathing....this is the board or
plywood or other material that goes over the wood stud framing. The
standard calculation is to count what is called "air-conditioned space"
this is a way to exclude garages and any exterior storage areas, decks,
etc. Roofs have nothing to do with the standard real estate calculation
here. (To calculate my fees for custom homes, I usually charge by the
square foot of "interior space" ....then I include spaces like porches,
terraces, garages etc. by counting them as 50 percent of their actual
2. From what you have said so far..... I suspect that the drawings are
wrong, or the real estate agent is wrong....or someone is lying to you.
Now. you may be seduced into thinking that this would work to your
favor given the apparently low price....but it would come back to get
you during construction....no one is going to give you square footage
I hope this helps!!!
San Antonio, Texas & Mexico City
John Richards wrote:
Yes, I know. I wasn't asking for advice on whether I should pursue the
house - just on how the s.f. might have been determined by the builder. I
quess, based on my posts, that a red flag may have gone up indicating that I
might be trying to jump into something unwise and you were just trying to
give me a "heads up". I appreciate that in spite of my initial reaction.
In reply to the above and your other reply suggesting I actually measure the
I emailed the agent and explained how I determined the s.f. and pointed out
the large discrepancy. I asked her if she could clarify their method of
calculating s.f. and explain the reason for the discrepancy. If her
response still leaves me in the dark, I may just visit the house and do some
actual measurements as you suggest.
The first question should be where did the SF number come from. It may
have been provided by the builder or the RE agency might have provided
it. Frankly, it doesn't make a big difference. Never trust the
numbers you're given.
This will take a little more research on your part and an investment of $10
but you can download a copy of the most recent NAHB guidelines for square
footage calculations. It is in PDF format and I have included the link
below. It is a pretty simple document (about 13 pages). If your builder is
a member of NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) then he should be
following these guidelines. If these guidelines are not being followed, it
could set him up for substantial lawsuits in the future. This is one of the
things that is making multifamily housing/design in the west such a pain in
the ass! Square footage is one of the major litigation issues. Joe Blow
moves into his new condo and measures it and finds that it is 83 square feet
smaller than his paperwork shows. He sues the builder, who then names the
architect, engineer and anyone else that has insurance or a deep pocket.
Then he gets refunded the x # of dollars per square foot he paid and the
lawyers walk away with millions in their pockets. Isnt it a wonderful
society we live in today!
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